I'd thought life without Love no life at all, And my life like a parachutist's fall Had readied-up with a silken snarl And without a parachutist's safety-pull. I was dead-ready to meet the all-in-all; I had all needed: gravity and a fool. My heart never mistrusted God was cruel. On my way down to clouds, through clouds to clods, I thought how the silk weight on my belly pulled, How silk and air stretched tight would make a shroud, And what an act, inordinate and proud, Living on would be -just as if allowed-- Before the cruel throne and crowded face of God, My life one long fall as if dead and mourned.
Disorderly love falls on our lives Like a dream in which we die And cannot awake or dream otherwise And only this dream is before our eyes Ritual and rote and stigmatized Inescapable and inordinately stylized A sleepwalker's temptless step's imposed And we see only the dream and are blind
A silent fibbing moonlight washes Distorted shadows of the dissenting sun Over each snow-molested branch and bush Arranged outside with a congregation's grace For the terminal minutes of our love-embrace Happening behind an unrolled windowsash. You had wanted to hurt me, and did. Truth was my only tribulation. Your hands hung, inert and underfed, Along the sofa's arms, overstuffed and wan, Resisting the reconciliation of my touch - And you pulled away, besides, your face, Quick and moonlike, from my near face Hurrying forward in a rudimentary rush That had so often sought the complexity of bed. Truth was my only tribulation. It was then, snowbound and alone, you had said Words that made all things one And useless, in the gelid December hush Whose winds diminished to a sparse trace In the outer emptiness I could not face, Too full of the moon's pale refracted crush. I don't know how all this roomy dark occurred. Truth is my only tribulation.
So few tears to tell the story; Have they gone away, like the edges of papers Trailing papercuts, and the most excited letters lost On the margins of the undersheets? Sometimes a freshness will surprise us first, A frittery coolness or itch against the cheek As strange as the dream it wakes us from, the same Sense of the seminal real, shorn up by fragments the same. Each tear had risen like a purpose, Tipped with passionate wetness from obliterated sight. Love is blind; so, too, grief and care, The silly joy of remembering just how, just where.
What joy departs the heaving night When we stretch out upon the stone In momentary bliss; Laid like sticks and together bound Indifferent to hurt, What love remains?
Is it a death to know you gone, Separation's wail at the verge Where tide on tide may pile and merge While I sigh unsolaced, alone? It is death, or death's live semblance To trade high love for sorrow's hole, To peer in pits for the absent soul, Braver laughter, a brother's glance. Yet others before have I lost, Their unsyllabled all made death's, Pilfered lives that in coffins rest, Nor can I reckon up the cost.
What resolution will recompense His companions for the pang Of his departure? What chimed gong Will make his going make new sense? How after harrowed grief resolve To live whole again? Does the leaf Shorn from the trunk that gave belief Ever re-ascend to former love? Here's no parable to mumble; We make our dying sounds above The grave that garners all our love: The open door unable To accommodate return. Let us gather where we are blown; Let us hold what we do not own But a moment, and make return.
When the briar brave entwines my grave, And heart, kept cold, is fallow laid Beneath the green and twisted braid What rose will come to show me saved? What rose from all the horrored heart Will fly harried from the dour hole? What emblem of the buried soul Will rise to tell my harrowed part? If twixt rounds of panting fight or dance All is 'catch our breaths' to kill again And love is all love unspoken We're but two tigers in a trance Who pace and leer and wait to leap Who've lungs for roar yet none for love; Who toy and tear the departing dove And too late let our anger sleep.